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Why Professional Photography?

title- why professional photography is worth it

It's a question on everyone's mind when they're talking to a photographer. Why would I pay you to take a picture when I have a camera on my phone?

I recently went to the beach and got some pictures to compare my camera and my phone. The photos below were taken from almost the same spot at almost the same time. The first picture- with my watermark is from my NikonD3500, and the second was taken with my phone - a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Admittedly, my phone has a pretty great camera, so on a small screen, these pictures seem to have similar quality, color, and clarity.

camera photo- beach at sunset
phone photo- beach at sunset

However, if you click to download these two photos, you may notice two things: first- the camera photo is a much bigger file, and second, when you zoom in, you can see the differences in quality. The number of pixels the camera is able to capture is much higher than the pixels the phone can. The biggest difference in these photos is how they'll look when they're printed. Even if both of these are sent to a reputable printer, the camera photo will be able to print at a much larger size and still maintain its quality. That's why when you try to print on a service like Shutterfly, once you blow a picture up to a certain size, the software will tell you that the quality will drop if it's printed at that size.

Here's another set of pictures for an example:

edited camera photo- beach at sunset
unedited phone photo- beach at sunset

In this set, the biggest difference you will see off the bat is the color. Now, to be fair, I kind of cheated here. I ran the camera photo (top) through my photo editing software and adjusted the exposure and a few other things to get the look I wanted. The phone picture is unaltered from when I took it.

So, if I'm admitting that I "cheated" here, why include these images for this? Well, the editing is kind of the point. Because my camera allows me to take photos in RAW format, I can "rescue" photos even if I did a bad job adjusting the light settings.

In the interest of fairness, here's what that camera photo looked like before the editing:

unedited camera photo- beach at sunset

And here is the phone picture after running through some editing software on my phone:

edited phone photo- beach at sunset

So you can see, on a small screen, a phone camera photo can be really rich and beautiful! However, without the ability to shoot in RAW format, I wouldn't be able to make the kind of edits that make that first version of this photo so breathtaking.

So, maybe you're convinced about landscape photography, but what about portraits? Isn't a selfie just as good as a professional photo session? I think you know my answer by now, but here is an example from a recent session I did with a family:

camera photo-pumpkin head family
phone photo-pumpkin head family

You may notice the angle difference. These photos were taken at basically the same moment, the top one with my camera and the bottom one my son took with my phone. But putting aside the angle issue, you can see a difference in the photos with the color and clarity. But what you can't see without looking very closely is the pixel differences. If this were a lovely portrait of your family that you wanted to hang up in your home, the camera version would definitely look better at any size, even if they were both printed in the same place.

To help illustrate the pixel difference, I grabbed these two screenshots of the camera picture and the phone picture side-by-side

up close side-by-side of photos

In this, I zoomed in so the eyes of this pumpkin are almost the same size. The photo on the left is from the phone; the right is the camera. At first glance, the camera looks blurrier than the phone picture. But in this screenshot, I had to zoom way closer with the camera photo to get these triangles to the same size. It may be confusing, but the "blurriness" there is just because there are more pixels there! If you look at the photo on the let, from the phone, you can see some squares and blockiness. Those are the actual pixels that are making up the image.

up close side-by-side of photos at 300% zoom

In this set, I zoomed both photos to 300% to illustrate how much bigger the file from the camera is!

I hope this helped you see the difference between professional cameras and phone cameras. This doesn't even touch the difference between selfies and posed portraits and what photographers can do with lighting, angles, and posing! But in my opinion, the results are clear- portraits done with a professional photographer are going to be better quality and add more to your home than selfies alone!

It's nearly time to start thinking about Christmas and the winter holidays! If you want to schedule a photo session for yourself, your friend group, or your family, click here!


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